Five pressing education issues you’ll see in 2014

A handful of important education issues will take top billing in 2014

education-issuesAlthough many states, districts, and education leaders are beginning 2014 with a fresh perspective on education priorities, familiar issues–including funding, Common Core, and policy–are sure to emerge.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) released its annual top five education issues that legislators and education advocates will encounter this session.

“It is clear we need American students to be more than warehouses of knowledge and information as the expectation has been in the past. As a nation we must bring our educational system up-to date so students also can apply knowledge and solve complex problems. This begins with high-quality early learning, continues through K-12, then continues until college completion and careers,” said CSG Education Policy Director Pam Goins. “Students must be able to work not only independently, but also with each other; they also need to be able to communicate ideas effectively. In short, to be successful in today’s world, every student must graduate from high school college- and career-ready.”

(Next page: Five important education issues in 2014)

Below are the five biggest issues that CSG has identified as facing education in 2014.

Technology and digital learning

Used more and more to supplement face-to-face instruction, Goins notes, this will come as no surprise to ed-tech advocates and stakeholders. But the move to a more digital form of learning, the increased prevalence of “bring your own technology” and one-to-one initiatives, and expanded access to mobile devices and apps mean that educational technology remains at the forefront. Accompanying this is the issue of access and ensuring equitable and reliable high-speed internet access for all students in all schools.

K-12 assessment and accountability systems

States are moving to online assessment systems as the Common Core State Standards are implemented, and two assessment consortia–PARCC and Smarter Balanced–aim to create assessments that collect data and enable teachers and administrators to analyze that data for real action.

Early childhood education

More and more research demonstrates links between early childhood education and success in later years. Links also have been made between early childhood education and smaller achievement gaps and fewer disciplinary problems in school and adulthood. Many states are examining whether they have the means to expand early childhood education opportunities and offerings.

College, workforce, and life readiness

One reason stakeholders emphasize the need for students to use technology on a daily basis in school is to help them develop skills that will be valuable in college and the workforce. When students use technology tools, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and more, they are developing the very abilities that will help ensure success in college or in global, high-competition careers.

Degree attainment and college completion

More and more, state policymakers have focused on college attendance and completion in efforts to demonstrate how important higher-order skills and knowledge are to the workforce. Setting goals to ensure that more students enroll in and complete college will be one of the most important issues of 2014.

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Laura Ascione

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